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Friday, July 07, 2006

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Latest newspaper trips at its debut

Name belongs to Communist Party claims plaintiff

By Susitha R. Fernando

The Colombo Commercial High Court judge yesterday issued an order preventing the printing and publishing of a new newspaper ‘Mawbima’. The court made this order when a Communist Party member claimed that it was the title of the party’s official newspaper published under his name.

The plaintiff Weliwita Arachchige Dharmadasa of No 91, Dr. N. M. Perera Mawatha, Colombo 8, citing Basnayake Mudiyanselage Dushyantha Bandara of Rosemead Place, Colombo 7 as defendant, claimed that using the title ‘Mawbima’, the party’s official newspaper since September 1950, was a violation of the plaintiff’s and the Communist Party’s intellectual property.

Counsel Mahinda Ralapanawa, appearing for the plaintiff, W. A. Dharmadasa stated that the newspaper was not published at times due to financial difficulties and there were periods where it was published daily. However the publication was restarted from June 1, 2006 and issues for June and July were released.

He stated to court that he came to know that the defendant was about to start a newspaper from July 2006 using the title ‘Mawbima’ with Nimal Kuruwita Bandara and Dayaratne Lankapura as its editors. This was publicised in newspapers and posters.

Due to its usage for over 40 years, the Communist Party has a right to claim the name as its intellectual property and the defendant using the trade name caused irreparable loss and damage.

The plaintiff asked for a declaration that it was only the plaintiff and the Communist Party that had the right to publish a newspaper under the title ‘Mawbima’ and asked for an order preventing the defendant from printing, publishing and distributing a newspaper with the said title.

Making objection to the application, counsel Romesh de Silva PC informed court that there was no prima-facie case against the defendant and the plaintiff has no right to claim the title of the newspaper.

He stated that the plaintiff had not registered the name ‘Mawbima’ before the Registrar of Trade Marks. Since April 1996, the paper was not published. He further submitted that the defendant, on March 2006, made an application to the Director General of Intellectual Property for the trade name while the General Secretary of the Communist Party, D. E. W. Gunasekara made an application only on June 2006. The counsel objected order being issued to prevent the newspaper being published.

High Court Judge K.T. Chitrasiri issued the enjoining order and ordered to file objection on July 20.

Mahinda Ralapanawa with N.M.A. Razwi appeared for the plaintiff. Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for the defendant.


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